Conservationists help hippos–and eco-tourism–thrive in South Africa

Global Business

When one thinks of hippopotamuses, zoos and man-made ponds may come to mind. It’s rare that we see the creature in its natural environments. But conservationists in South Africa are taking a page from the past to help hippos thrive.

And that’s also helping boost eco-tourism in the region.

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Conservationists helps hippos thrive in South Africa

When one thinks of hippopotamuses, zoos and man-made ponds come to mind. It's rare that we see the creature in its natural environments. But conservationists in South Africa are taking a page from the past to help hippos thrive. And that's also helping boost eco-tourism in the region.

Hippos are known to spend most of their days lazing around in the African sun. Here at the St. Lucia estuary, they are among the many that have made it their home.

The wetland system is a biodiversity hotspot, a melting pot of species all drawn to its rich ecology. Local tourism officials hope that efforts to keep the estuarine system in a pristine condition will lead to more and more visitors swapping game-viewing vehicles for cruising safaris.

St. Lucia estuary is quite unique. As Africa’s largest estuarine system, it manages to draw in an abundance wildlife including bird species and reptiles.

But none draws so much fascination as the hippos. They’ve become the cornerstone species of the wetlands. For the visitors who come here, its offers an untouched eco-tourism experience with the wildlife to boast.

But the wildlife experience doesn’t only extend to the confines of the wetlands, because warning signs throughout the town clearly display what the chances are of a sighting.

For such a sensitive ecosystem, a fine balancing act does seem to be played out with success here. The animal species in the St. Lucia estuary seem to be thriving. That has become a major part of why so many people are finding their way to one of the countries last unspoiled frontiers.